School of Arts and Sciences
When students apply for undergraduate admission, they are asked to write not only the essay for the Common Application, but also three short supplemental essays ranging in topic from “Why Tufts?” to “What Makes You Happy?”
A Tumblr entitled Tufts Tails is a space for Tufts 2017 Jumbos to upload pieces of their essays to share with other interested classmates and prospective students. From rainbows and parakeets to photography and Disney, you’ll see just what these newest Jumbos have to say about their lives, Tufts, and their nerdy sides.
The Old Guy Project is an Independent Film Production course through the drama department taught by Professor Jennifer Burton. Only 10 students were allowed into this advanced film making class where they actually become part of a production team. The students will gain real-life experience for executing strategies for successful producing, including budgeting, fundraising, contracts, copyrighting, casting, scheduling, location scouting, shooting, editing, marketing and distribution.
One of the 10 students in the class, Sam Plasmati, A13, says:
We’re getting first hand experience in film production. We’ve spent the semester so far preparing for filming - doing PR, location scouting, dealing with equipment, casting. We just had our first shoot at the Tufts Campus and nearby locations in Medford and Somerville and it was a huge success. We students had an active role in all aspects of the shoot – helping produce, helping with sounds, helping film.
“Old Guy” is intended as a comedic look at how aging is represented in the media.This project is a collaboration between Tufts University and the LA-based production company that Professor Burton co-owns, Five Sisters Productions. The goal is to create a web-series which is roughly based on the experiences of Burton’s father, a professor turned actor at age 75, working in the entertainment industry.
For a behind-the-scenes look at what Professor Burton, Sam and the other students are doing, take a look at their Twitter account and follow them for more updates. And be on the lookout for the release of “Old Guy”!
The application deadline for undergraduate admissions was Friday, January 3. On New Year’s Day, Dan in Admissions took to Reddit to challenge Redditers to ask him anything about the college admissions process.
The nearly 400 comments on the post ranged from questions about legacy students and financial aid to inquiries about horse-sized ducks and Dan’s t-shirt. Check out the AMA for Dan’s inside look at college admissions.
This semester Will Russack, A14, enrolled in the “Environmental Preservation and Improvement” course taught by Associate Professor George Ellmore. The course’s goal is to “energize students’ desire to work for positive and measurable environmental change” by highlighting solutions to current environmental problems.
Little did Russack know, the two-and-a-half hour environmental studies seminar would inspire him to write a series of posts on his personal blog on the topics discussed in class. He writes: “So far I’m really enjoying the class because every week I come away with a plethora of knowledge about a new topic and the confidence to talk about it.”
One of those topics was “colony collapse disorder,” the phenomenon of the sudden disappearance of honey bees in the United States:
“We investigated the potential for multiple factors to be working together to create these massive die-offs, as the research has been unable to find a clear culprit. The first factor discussed is the usage of systemic pesticides. Systemic pesticides spread throughout all the tissues of a plant, including the nectar and pollen. This means that adult forager bees are receiving direct exposure to the pesticides, and that entire colonies are experiencing indirect exposure when the foragers return. Systemic pesticides are known as neonicotinoids, which have been shown to have significant effects on the central nervous system.
A study by Pettis et al. demonstrated that honey bees exposed to a systemic pesticide known as imidacloprid were significantly more susceptible to infection from the gut pathogen Nosema (figure 1). A second study by Henry et al. showed that exposure to systemic pesticides decreased foraging success in honey bees. The bees were fitted with radar tagging devices to track their position (figure 2). The bees experienced significant“homing failure,” with up to 31% of bees exposed to pesticides unable to find their way back to hive after foraging. Mortality due to homing failure was even higher when the bees were unfamiliar with their foraging area, as one would expect. Here we can see how just 1 factor, pesticides, is able to have multiple effects on bee health and how these factors could interact to weaken colonies.”
For more on Russack’s presentation, check out his blog post.
Keeping up with the news, whether it’s politics, pop culture, or anything in between, can be tough, especially as a young professional on the go. Just ask Danielle Weisberg, A08, and Carly Zakin, two ambitious twenty-somethings who know that “skimming the headlines” can be confusing and difficult, particularly with the advent of so many online media outlets. Weisberg and Zakin decided to take on the responsibility of keeping their generation in the know: enter theSkimm, an innovative and fun take on the daily headlines with the promise of “we read, you skimm.”
Zakin and Weisberg met on a semester abroad in Rome, and they both worked at NBC after college. In an interview with Business Insider, they explained:
[theSkimm is] for someone who’s smart, career-minded, and social. They might be going to a cocktail party or wedding, where news stories come up in conversation. We want our readers to be able to start the conversations. theSkimm is meant to be a confidence booster.
Weisberg majored in American Studies at Tufts, and has worked in broadcast journalism for NBC News, as well as in editorial positions at The Daily Beast and Boston Magazine.
Finals are without a doubt the most stressful time of the year on the Hill. With papers, exams, and the frigid weather, what’s a Jumbo to do!? Thankfully Mark Samaan and Spencer Schoeben, both A16, have the answer for stressed out Jumbos in need of supplies.
Samaan began the initiative after realizing he had few exams but would be around until the last day of finals. In order to make the most of his time, he came up with Tufts Study Aids, a cash-only delivery service that proves Jumbos with study essentials: from pens and paper to easy mac. He enlisted his roommate, Schoeben, to bring his idea to life on the Internet while Samaan handles the deliveries. Check out their entrepreneurial efforts here!
In the past year, several Tufts professors have been featured on “Academic Minute,” a series broadcast by WAMC Northeast Public Radio that focuses on the academic innovations coming out of colleges and universities around the world. In August, the series featured Tufts Music Professor Dr. Joseph Auner, who spoks about the technology behind modern electronic instruments. “Academic Minute” has also spoken with Dr. Gregory Crane, editor of the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts, who researches the importance of Arabic translations of documents from Ancient Greece.
Professor Crane explains the significance of Arabic translation:
“Many scientific terms such as algebra and chemistry come to us from Arabic. European culture rediscovered ancient sources like Aristotle and Euclid via Latin translations from Arabic translations of the Greek originals.”
Part of Nancy Gleason’s PS138: Conflict & Natural Resources class requires students to create group presentations on oil, diamonds, or minerals, the potential conflicts they bring about, and potential resolution approaches to the conflicts related to their natural resource of choice. The course itself “examines the role of natural resource endowments and scarcity in national and international conflict.”
Check out three videos from this semester’s batch of projects:
“The Cost of Conflict: A Message to Private Oil Firms” by Ryan Egger, A14, Ally Manning, A13, Mariah Martin, A13, Janet Rubin, A14, Katie Segal, A14
“Revamping the Kimberley Process” by Danielle Jenkins, A13, Meagan Maher, A13, Karen Bustard, A13, Daniel Goodman, A14, and Stephanie Krantz, A14
“Somali Piracy Over Natural Resources” by Jack Miller, A14, Chris Banaszek, A13, Sean Gunn, A15, Angela Sun, A13, Hans Ege Wenger, A14, Steve Yu, A13
On December 4, a variety of student theater groups premiered “Over the Rainbow,” a unique cabaret and auction to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA). Now in its fifth year, “Over the Rainbow” is sponsored by the Tufts Department of Drama and Dance, Health Services, Torn Ticket II, Pen, Paint, and Pretzels, Bare Bodkin, and the Leonard Carmichael Society. Students performed a wide variety of songs–from musicals like “Hairspray” and “Rent,” among several others–and facilitated an auction featuring signed Broadway memorabilia and gifts from local vendors.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is a nonprofit that utilizes the resources of the theater community to raise money for AIDS-related causes. In the Tufts Daily video below, you’ll hear from ensemble member Julia Lyons, A13; Director Cailin Mackenzie, A14; and Executive Producer Stephanie Fischer, A13, who speak about the importance of BC/EFA and the significance of the yearly event at Tufts. The video also features rehearsal footage of the talented cast.
The Tufts Third Day Gospel Choir performed its fall show on November 16. The Gospel Choir is one of Tufts’ largest student music groups, and its performances are always spirited, joyous, and fun. Tufts students of all backgrounds and singing abilities are invited to join the Gospel Choir each semester. The group meets on Friday afternoons to sing a variety of choral works from the African American tradition of religious music.
Check out this video of the 2012 Gospel Choir performing “I Got A Reason”: